A seventh bulging file of cases for Mma Precious Ramotswe and the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, most of them offering no hope of profit except to lucky readers.
Where to begin? Poppy Maope is certain that the senior cook at her college is stealing food for her husband, but when she confronts the thief, she’s threatened with losing her job. Neil Whitson, manager of the Mokolodi Game Preserve, senses widespread fear among workers who refuse to name its cause. Boitelo Mampodi, a qualified nurse, is worried because Dr. Eustace Lubega doesn’t want her to take his patients’ blood pressure. Mma Ramotswe’s assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi, may have scared off her fiancé, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, by identifying herself as a feminist. And Mr. Polopetsi, the newest employee in the garage owned by Mma Ramotswe’s husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, 2005), is exhausted by bicycling everywhere but has been denied an auto loan by his rich uncle. In Smith’s quietly penetrating manner, each of these problems leads to still further problems. Perhaps Mma Ramotswe should throw in the towel and consult the advice columnist Aunty Emang, who seems to be seriously poaching on her turf.
The dénouement, which brings Mma Ramotswe face to face with evil, is the perfect climax to a tale as refreshing as a month in the country—the country of Botswana.